To Russia With Love
A Film by: Elle Flanders, Noam Gonick, Howard Gertler, and Laura Michalchyshyn
Sundance Productions in association with the Arcus Foundation and EPIX
As the Russian LGBT community struggles for basic rights, a law banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” was passed in Russia leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Gay Olympians were faced with a tough decision: to take a risky stance against the host country and publicly come to the defense of their comrades, or to compete in silence. Popular figure skater and commentator Johnny Weir was challenged in the media to speak out against the country he’d loved since childhood.
Narrated by Jane Lynch, To Russia with Love offers a rare and unparalleled look at the intersection of athletes and activists in Sochi during the Games, and a behind-the-scenes look at the Russian Open Games – the daring LGBT sports tournament held in Moscow three days after Sochi, thwarted at every turn by authorities. We meet Vladislav Slavskiy, the defiant gay youth from Sochi who reveals the systemic violence in the wake of the Duma’s law, challenging the complacency of guests of the Games from countries where LGBT rights are enshrined.